Towns and cities have well-established, well-hidden infrastructure such as electrity, water and sewage. Temporary communities, such as military encampments and refugee camps, don’t have those luxuries. Waste treatment is an especially difficult problem, and improper handling and disposal can cause environmental damage and disease.
An NSW-based company, Flovac, developed a system that alleviates those pitfalls. Its portable, containerized, above-ground sewerage system holds such promise for people in tough or distressed living conditions that it earned the No. 2 position in this year’s Anthill SMART 100.
2. Flovac Deployable Sewage System
Company: Flovac Systems Australia
Headquarters: Chatswood, NSW
The system has three components: a vacuum pump station, a treatment plant (both in transportable containers) and sewage collection point. All are connected by above-ground pipework, which is easy to lay out and doesn’t cause the environmental damage in-ground pipework would. Power is required only at the pump station; vacuum power takes care of the rest.
Historically, sewage at temporary camps went into holes in the ground. The sewage either stayed there or was pumped out and trucked to another location. The process is expensive, time-consuming and risky to the environment. It also raised the risk of contact with raw sewage and all the health concerns that brings.
Flovac’s deployable system came into being when a potential client, the British Ministry of Defence. Afghanistan’s extreme weather was causing problem with the sewerage pump stations, and strict regulations banned the military from leaving sewage at an abandoned camp site.
Though the system’s first applications were for military use, Flovac sees applications for emergency refugee camps, mining camps and even one-off events such as music festivals. The company also plans to work hand-in-hand with firms that already supply sewage and water treatment to camps.